Continued investment by biopharmaceutical companies in R&D, coupled with technological developments, have made it possible for vaccines to bedeveloped, not only to prevent infectious disease, but also to treatdisease. Unlike more traditional vaccines, these aim to focus the immune system on attacking established disease, rather than offering protectionagainst infections.
In addition, companies have developed novel ways of delivering vaccinesso that the traditional needle may soon be a thing of the past.
In 2016, there were over 250 vaccines in development creating significantopportunities to prevent and treat disease in the future.
However, as the development of vaccines progresses, so too does the complexity of the development and manufacturing of these vaccines.The process of researching, testing, gaining regulatory approval and manufacturing vaccines is costly, complex and lengthy (an average of twelve years). The manufacturing process alone can take up to two and a half years with up to 70% of this time dedicated to quality control.
Unlike traditional medicines, vaccines are biological medicines that are made from living organisms. They must meet specific, extensive regulatory requirements throughout their development, production and distribution cycles. This complexity poses a considerable challenge to companies and health systems.
Increasingly public health policies in Europe recognise the importance andvalue of vaccination. To ensure continued stability and provide a supportive environment for ongoing investment in innovative new vaccines, long-term partnership and collaboration between policy makers, public health authorities and industry is crucial.